Thursday, October 11, 2012

Really interesting day (for me) today, and it's not even close to over!

1. I declared this to be "National Hug a Farmer Day."
2. I found something from the NY Times (formerly known as The Greatest Newspaper in the World) I considered worthy of passing on.
3. The "something" concerns California (formerly known as a nice place to visit) and didn't involve LaLaLand's usual nuttiness.

The story is long. If you'd prefer just a few excerpts to pique the old curiosity, here they are... 
  • "...Bakersfield — the land of oil derricks, lowriders and truck stops with Punjabi food..."
  • "...six million pounds of carrots a day..."
  •  "...carrots whirl around on conveyor belts at up to 50 miles an hour..."
  • "...massive operations of California’s expansive Central Valley..."
  • "...exploiting ­­ — almost without limitation — its water, mineral resources, land, air, people and animals."
  •  "...bills itself as the “farm capital of the world,” but it’s actually the “famous-prisoner capital of the world.”
  • "...10,000 acres of almond groves..."
  • "...feeding China’s growing and extraordinary thirst for wine."
The story ends with this..."No matter what, though, it seems as if the valley is eventually going to become less productive. In fact, that’s already happening. Development and contamination have taken land out of production. And disproportionate swaths are being devoted to grape and almond farming solely because those crops can be reliably processed and profitably shipped to China. There are pioneers in the valley, people working to figure out ways to make their style of farming — whether big or small — work over the long term. But beyond the profit motive, there is little public support or encouragement for them or their ideas and no way for consumers or even officials to know whom to support. As a result, our land use and, to a considerable extent, our diet are dependent on the hunches and whims of landowners. If we want a system of farming that’s sustainable on all levels, we have to think about a national food and farming policy. And as I was looking out at Buxman’s amazing land, it occurred to me just how amazing it is that we don’t have one."

That doesn't sound like a situation unique to California.

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